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Revolutionary Timekeepers

The Willard House and Clock Museum, North Grafton, MA

The Willard House and Clock Museum in North Grafton, MA.

From the information board at the site:
The family of clockmakers who lived and worked in this house helped revolutionize timekeeping in America. The Willard family was one of the premiere clockmaking families during and after the American Revolution. The Willards held several patents on clockmaking innovations, and their work made clocks more widely available–while increasing their reliability.
The saltbox, a popular colonial house design, was a frame dwelling with two stories in front and one behind and a roof with a long rear slope.

Simon Willard invented the popular banjo clock, a wall clock with a banjo-shaped case.

First Snow

The traditionally white colonial architecture of Hardwick, MA (population 2,667) , punctuated by fieldstone walls, is especially picturesque after a snowfall.

Town Common, Hardwick, MA
Stone Walls of Ridge Road
Cutler-Paige House

A 1685 Garrison House

Standing for over 300 years, this sturdy house provides a glimpse into an important architectural style of Early America.

The Houghton Sprague Garrison House, Harvard, MA
“Garrisons, or fortified houses, were built in almost all New England towns.‚ĶLike an ordinary house in plan and appearance, garrisons were used in times of peace as one-family dwellings but were strongly built and capable of protecting a number of families in times of danger, like the American Revolution.” –The History of Garrison Colonials, by Ray Wiese

A Century Farm

Central Massachusetts boasts well over forty apple orchards. Sagatabscot is among the oldest.

Sagatabscot Orchards in Sterling, MA was established in the 1740s. This historic farm has been owned by only two families; the present family has been operating it since 1912.
A self-serve stand offers many apple varieties, including heirloom, as well as cider.
The antique cider press has been preserved in the farm barn along with other historical relics. Note the World War I helmet, worn by an ancestor of the present owner.
In the Algonquin Indian language sagatabscot means “place of the hard rock”.
Since the 1700’s the owners have built numerous additions to the original buildings on the rocky hillside.
The farmhouse is painted in the original 1700s color.
The “six over six” windows and side entry are appealing details for colonial architecture enthusiasts.
Lucky and Lucky, the chickens, were named as a consequence of being the last chickens left after a fox found the hen house.
The barn is a treasure trove of antique farm implements, historical items and family lore.
Cart wheels and traditional Ojibwa Indian snowshoes are displayed in the barn rafters.
This bobsled was used to deliver milk when roads were impassable in the winter.
The present owner created this replica of the barn for his young daughters.
Generations of cousins have gathered at the farm for family festivities.
Small rooms carved out from the larger structure include historical items and family heirlooms.

A Colonial Style Summer

A walk through the small historic district of Holden, MA allows time to view many details of colonial architecture and landscaping.

This home in the historic district of Holden, MA, displays the simple beauty of early American design and decoration. Lilies, phlox and daisies, traditional New England perennials, become the “front lawn”. No mowing needed.
The rest of the “lawn” is dominated by common ferns. Look closely to the left of the door. A golden colored “guard” is on duty there.
Door guards such as this one have been popular in China for centuries. This might be a representation of a lion, dragon or dog. Although I was unable to find direct links from this style of ceramics to early America, The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum notes that: In 1741, ships belonging to the British, Danish, French, and Swedish brought a total of 1,200,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain into the European ports. A good portion of those pieces ended up in the fine homes of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. I welcome comments if you have expertise in this area!
A recent trend in primitive decorating is the use of gourds. Here, eye-catching Italian gourds (or possibly small snake gourds) hang on the side door underneath panes of traditional bull’s eye glass. The five-pointed star atop the door was a symbol of good luck in colonial America. A side lantern in colonial style utilizes faux candles.
The smaller golden guard of the side door sits next to a pot of basil. Basil was brought to the New World in the 1620s. Along with flavoring food, it was used as a strewing herb. Additionally, the leaves were dried for use in snuff to relieve headaches and colds.
Whitewashed picket fences were popular in colonial days. These fences were expensive and harder to maintain than plain wooden fences, so they became a symbol of prosperity.
This rooster weather vane, with its tail perfectly shaped to catch the wind, stands proudly atop the house. Weather vanes were popular in colonial times, but were first used centuries before this era.
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